Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stock Investing: I Love You Man!

Ever been "in love"?  Ok. Ok... "really liked' someone?  It's great when we first meet someone and start to develop a relationship.  But here's the question... ever broken up with someone?  How did you do it? 

I'm sure many have experienced the "breakup".  It's not fun. And psychologically (and emotionally) we normally don't really want to hurt someones feelings.  So there are many techniques many go about in trying to sever ties with someone.  You can obviously go face to face and say "It's not you, It's me" and "It's for the better".  Or in today's technology world, you could call and leave them a voicemail (not likely these days though as they might answer, ugh)... or better yet, an email or even better a text message!!!  Nothing says "I care about your feelings" when someone breaks up in a text message!  Then of course there's the old spend less time, talk less, and maybe (hopefully) "they'll get the hint". 

OK. Now take that logic as to why we sometimes go to great measures to "let someone down easy" and think about investing.  I say this because sometimes there is a tenancy for heart to take over the brain when it comes to investing in your portfolio.  Some people get "attached" to their stocks.  And when a stock is underperforming or starts to lose value and hurt the portfolio, we have to ask them "Why so attached?"  Did the company text you this morning to wish you a good day?  Did you get a birthday card from your stock company?  Christmas Card?  Truth is... the stock you "love" so much doesn't seem to be loving you back all that much (especially if there is no dividend attached... read the Drip Drip Drip Blog).  Many will often say "Oh, I've had the stock for years.  I couldn't possibly let it go." 

Why not?

When it comes to investing, you have to try hard to take the emotion out of it.  It's okay to have a position for years as long as that position continues to do what you want them to do inside your portfolio. 

My favorite quote that I've heard over the years regarding stocks that have fallen in value is "It'll come back". To which I might ask, "When?"  Tomorrow?  Next Week?  Two Years?  Five Years?  Truth is, you're not sure when they will come back or if they will... but you love them so much!

Take Microsoft for example.  Take a look at a 10 Year chart:

Easy to say most like Microsoft the company.  I mean it is a multi-billion dollar company!!  If you are a PC user, you like Microsoft (or not).  If you had invested in the company 10 years ago, you would have paid around $29.  Today, it's running around $27.  (granted, MSFT has posted some dividends lately... about 40 cents a year... little over 1% in dividends each year since about 2006. That was 1% for those keeping tally).  That would mean you are down about $2 bucks after 10 years.  Down about 6.8% after 10 years (and actually you might be even with the 1% you've received in dividends since 2006... Now that's Love!).  Who would have liked to have had "the talk" around $35?  And then maybe "asked them out again"... around $20 or even $15.  Please understand, I'm not saying Microsoft has always been a dog.  Many Many people made a fortune off this company and stock.  But, those that came to the party a little late and held it thinking it was going to $400 like Apple, might be asking "huh?"  "Where's the love?"

Making that hard decision to cut them loose is tough.  Can't really send your stock company a text message or an email.  Can't leave them a voicemail.  Heck, you can't really go face to face with them and say "It's me, not you."  Sometimes we try to go the grade school route and ignore them.  We don't open our statements, we gloss over them in our portfolio... after all we "love" them.  Maybe they'll get the hint and go away?

Nope.  If you have to cut them loose, you have to sell them and move on to a new position (new love interest?).  The worst time to cut them loose is when you have lost money.  That's the worst because you 1. Don't want to admit to being wrong and 2. If it comes back up in value, they won't love you anymore (you start to second guess your relationship... something to that effect). 

Investing is like a business... you have to have a Plan and Strategy, with Goals and Objectives.  If a stock isn't working for you properly to meet those plans, strategies, goals and/or objectives, then it's time to make a hard decision for the portfolio and say "bah-bye".  Obviously, the best time to "break up" is when they have performed well for your portfolio. But who wants to break up when things are going well?  Exactly!  Hence why you want to establish a plan to avoid the heart taking over. Maybe you put a rule in place... if it goes up 20%, then it's time to part ways (more on that strategy down the road).  Put something in place that disciplines you.

"It's been fun and we've had some good times, but it's time to move on to bigger and better."
... it'll be better for you in the long run.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drip, Drip, Drip... DRiP Your Way to Wealth!

Imagine you’re lying in bed and suddenly realize you have a leaky faucet in the bathroom and while you are trying to sleep you hear a “Drip” about every… let’s say 3 minutes. At first, you think “Ah… I have a drip. No big deal… it just caught my attention. I’ll fix that in the morning.” Then… “drip” (about 3 minutes later). “Drip” (about 3 minutes later). I’m willing to bet by the third “drip”, you’re out of bed trying to tighten the faucet only to return, close your eyes and hear… “drip”. After about an hour, you’ve now heard 20 drips and have fully taken on insomnia… you’re about to lose your mind. Or worst yet… that “leak” is coming from the ceiling. At first you put a bucket down, but realize after a couple of hours or so of “drips”, that a drip fills the bucket causing you to have to dump the water or face overflow and more issues.


Absolutely… this would drive me nuts (and has in the past). But, take this analogy and let’s visualize how a “Drip” is a good thing in investing.

A DRiP is a Dividend, Re-investment Plan. Here’s the basics to how it works: Imagine now that you decide to research and buy a stock that pays a dividend. I’m going to use an actual stock but for sake of you running out and buying this stock, I won’t reveal the actual stock symbol. (In our Coach’s workshops, we like to describe the concept using real world examples… our “financial athletes” seem to appreciate this technique.)

We’ll call this stock XYZ and the symbol will be… you guessed it, XYZ.

XYZ, as I write this, is selling for $8.40. When I go and look up XYZ on Yahoo Finance (, I see that it pays $.05 cents every month for 1 share of XYZ. If you do some quick math, $0.05 cents x 12 months equals $0.60 cents a year. (Small side-bar: some stocks pay dividends monthly, some quarterly or every 90 days or 3 months, some pay once a year.  It all depends on how the company chooses to pay their dividends.  The concepts still works the same though).

Now, you might say to yourself, “$0.60 cents a year… good one Coach. That’ll buy me… just about nothing!!”. Ok, fair enough, but stick with me… if you take $0.60 cents and divide it by your cost to buy XYZ (here at $8.40), you’ll notice that you’ll make about 7.14 % by doing NOTHING! That’s right, your stock will do the work for you and will pay you about 7.14% each year (granted that they don’t change the dividends they payout, etc… but that is for another blog. We’ll assume here that they have a good track record of paying consistent dividends). The 7.14% you calculated is called the Dividend Yield.

So, let’s say you buy 100 shares at $8.40. That’s $840 you have invested in XYZ stock. How much will you make in dividends now after one year? If you guessed (or calculated) $60, you’d be right (.60 cents x 100 shares is $60.00).

Ok. So what’s the DRiP part? Glad you asked. Imagine again how annoying that “drip” was… well this is a “good annoying” drip. Imagine next month in August (let’s say August 15th), XYZ declares their dividend of $0.05 cents per share like clock-work. You have 100 shares, therefore you get $5.00 ($0.05 cents x 100 shares). Nice work for doing nothing. Now lets “drip” that $5 bucks that magically appeared into the "portfolio bucket" and buy more of XYZ. XYZ next month (August) is going for… let’s say $8.00 (it’s down from where you bought it. Not to panic… markets go up and down). So, your $5 bucks can now buy how many shares of XYZ? If you guessed 0.625 shares, you’d be right ($5.00 divided by the price of the stock, $8.00). Now, you would have 100.625 shares of XYZ stock.

“Great Coach, I’m rolling in it now.” Hang on… stay with me. Here comes September… on 15 September, XYZ declares their $.05 cent per share dividend. How many shares do you have now? That’s right, 100.625. You don’t get paid a dividend on 100 shares. You will be paid on 100.625 shares. Take these shares and multiply by $.05 cents, and you will receive about $5.04. This is $.04 cents more than you got last month. Let’s say XYZ is still down in value, around $7.80. This would mean that you “Drip” your $5.04 and buy more XYZ at $7.80 or you would get about 0.645 shares of XYZ. You now own 101.27 shares of XYZ. I think you’re getting the idea, now let me show you a random chart. I made up the prices of XYZ for each month just to show you how many shares you would receive for that given example:

If you notice, over the course of the next few months (Oct-Jan), the price of XYZ goes down, thus causing your portfolio to go down in value as well. But, if you notice, during those months, you are able to “Drip” and buy more shares at the lower level. You are essentially using someone else’s money (XYZ’s money) to buy more shares for you. After one full year (on 15 JUL), when the stock is at $8.40 (I did this on purpose to show impact here), you made about $62.13 in dividends, actually making more in the Percent (%) earned (7.77% vs. 7.14% we originally figured) and your portfolio at the same price one year later is about $100 bucks more than what you paid a year back. That’s about 13% increase in portfolio value ($100 increase/ $800 original investment).  And by the way... the next dividend payment you receive in August will be $5.38 (.05 x 107.686).  In one year, your dividend payment has gone up $.38 cents per share or about 7.6% ($0.38/$5.00).

Now that is a “DRiP” that isn’t so annoying!! Imagine this over many years. That’s a bucket that fills up quickly and keeps on going! Again, this is a good problem to have. Now you know the basics to how Warren Buffet “DRiP’d” his way to becoming the 2nd wealthiest person in the world.

He used a Dividend Re-investment Plan for many of his positions… and he “let it ride!”

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

How can Club Fees make you Rich?

Here's one for you... How much does it cost to go to the clubs these days? Let's say $20 bucks to get into the club. Let's say you go on Friday and Saturday and let's say you spend $20 when you get inside (that's probably low, but stay with me). That's $60 bucks for two nights in the club. How might you get rich off of those Club fees and inside "refreshments"? Let's say you only go one night, that's $30 you save. For sake of argument, let's say you save $50 bucks.

If you are 21 years old and you open a ROTH IRA (tax free growth, tax free withdrawals) and you put that saved $50 bucks a month (heck this is just one weekend, you could go both nights the rest of the month) into the ROTH IRA, that would be $600 a year you saved and "socked away".

Now let's say you discipline yourself to do this every month. $50 bucks to a ROTH account, invested with a good mix of assets (the asset allocation discussion will be for a different time). Let's say you only average 5% a year till you retire. Retire is defined at 60 years old (well 59 1/2 is when you can get to your ROTH money, but we'll stick with 60 for this discussion).

That's 39 years of putting $50 bucks away each month at a conservative return of 5% a year.

When you are 60, you would have $71,880! Now that is some serious Clubbin'! That's just for missing one Friday or Saturday during a month. Imagine if you put $100 per month. Looking at about $143,760. That's some real "Boom Boom Pow"!

Imagine you do this at 21 and your friend starts at the same time you do but they are 22 (not 21). How much would they have at 60? Missing that one year of putting in $600 ($50 x 12 months) would only net them $67,857. That shows you the power of time value of money. Remember, that's just making 5% a year. The market average since the 1920's (the dawn of time, right?) has been around 7% per year. Plug that into your 21 year old, $600 a year calculation and now you have about $119,181... $47,301 more on 2% better performance.

You can go to: and play around with the calculator.

Bottom line: The next time you head out to the Clubs and are about to hand Vinny your $20 bucks... think for a moment what the $20 could do for you down the road.

"But Coach, I don't go to the clubs." Ok... but there's something that you probably do spend extra cash towards that you might be able to do without (as often) so you can "sock" some of it away.

Check out our Workshops we have happening... Register today for the next round.

- Coach

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